We love making presentations. To develop the client relationship. To solidify the client relationship. All during the client relationship, and sometimes, even after a particular phase of the client relationship has ended.
Which is fine, but we - along with most other businesses - are stuck in an old-school way of presenting. We put onto a Keynote presentation exactly what we're saying. Then we say it. And then we give the client a copy of the Keynote, to remind them what we said.
Check out Seth Godin's demo reel as a speaker (some day, we will find a way to get him here, but he's expensive). Granted, it's been edited, so we're not seeing him on stage the entire time. Notice these things:
1. He's not at a podium. There is nothing between him and the audience (except the height of the stage). On an unconscious level - maybe conscious for people who know speaking - this conveys transparency and a willingness to put oneself at the same level as the audience.
2. The slides are eye-catching. Not with great design, but because they're unexpected images that make you wonder what he's going to talk about next and how the slide is going to be relevant.
3. The slides rarely have words. And the words rarely match what he's saying, unless he's illustrating a point, in which case a couple of words underscore the essential message. No more than a few words per slide.
4. He's talking naturally, not from any prepared speech. Granted, he gives these talks almost every day, but he's not reading cue cards or the hidden part of Keynote.
His style is so distinct that it's actually referred to as "the Godin method." There are others, which I'll post about at another time, but all of them are living their personal brand in their presentation.
I know a couple of us (not me, necessarily) and several of the presenters we use regularly can speak extemporaneously. What I'd personally like to see, especially from us, are more stories. We're storytellers. Let's illustrate those stories with amazingly designed slides that really carry a punch -- because there aren't 40 of them. Then, after the presentation, if we want to hand out an outline or a written document, that's fine. But everything I've read says that audiences pay more attention to a speaker who doesn't rely on slides. To paraphrase something I read, uh, somewhere: if your slides literally illustrate each aspect of your presentation, the audience will be reading the slides and not paying attention to you.